Callum, 17, from Motherwell has attended the CyberFirst Defenders (2018), Futures (2019) and Advanced (2020) courses:
I’ve been heavily involved in STEM for the last 6 years, and so an opportunity for me to combine my passion for STEM subjects and my desire to work in the cyber security industry wasn’t one I was going to pass up. Seeing that the course was SQA accredited and run by the NCSC also gave me confidence that it was a brilliant opportunity to take advantage of.
GAINING PRACTICAL SKILLS AND CYBER SECURITY EXPERIENCE
Taking part in the courses helps you to improve on a number of skills that you never knew you had. From the group projects running throughout the courses where you get to build solid team working skills, to some of the more in-depth technical elements – there is always an opportunity to learn and improve. I left the courses with more knowledge and practical experience of some of the cyber security tools used widely in industry today, and I will be able to carry this knowledge forward into my career.
“Seeing that the course was SQA accredited and run by the NCSC gave me confidence that it was a brilliant opportunity to take advantage of.”
THE MOST EXCITING MOMENT WAS WHEN I REALISED THIS WAS A CAREER FOR ME
One of the most interesting parts of the weeklong courses was hearing from speakers in industry and understanding their routes into cyber security and what they now do for a living. It is a brilliant way to get young people inspired.
The most exciting moment across all of the courses that I took part in was at the end when we were talked through a presentation slide about all of the paths we could now follow into a career of our own in cyber. I realised that this really is a career path that I would like to pursue. I’d always wanted to work with computers but could never say in exactly what field, CyberFirst gave me the ability to say for definite, I want to work in cyber security.
THE CHALLENGING PARTS WERE THE MOST ENJOYABLE
The most challenging aspects of the courses were also the most enjoyable. These were the hands-on experiences using industry standard tools and solving problems set for you in a cyber security context, for example, using an array of open source intelligence techniques to gather information about a target individual. Tasks like this sometimes require you to think a long way outside the box, even finding individuals that match a description on mapping websites standing outside their homes.
A BRILLIANT OPPORTUNITY
Even for people who are not sure about what career they would like to pursue this is a brilliant opportunity to experience something new, and quickly discover how interesting it is. For the people already looking at a career in cyber, it’s a no-brainer.
CyberFirst introduces young people with a passion for computing and technology to the fascinating world of cyber security. It is a programme of opportunities inspired and led by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of GCHQ. Join a course to start your CyberFirst journey.
YEAR 10 (ENGLAND AND WALES), YEAR 11 (NORTHERN IRELAND) OR S4 (SCOTLAND)
YEAR 11 (ENGLAND AND WALES), YEAR 12 (NORTHERN IRELAND) OR S5 (SCOTLAND)
YEAR 12 (ENGLAND AND WALES), YEAR 13 (NORTHERN IRELAND) OR S6 (SCOTLAND)